The Viashi Card Deck


Viashi is an ancient and popular elvish card-game, and the one these cards were designed for.
This game has been play tested, but the players I find would usually rather play Loot or Crusade which are more casual and lighthearted in tone.

Viashi is a three person game, although a six-person two-deck variant known as Viashilym (Double-Viashi) is also popular.

The Draw Phase:

The cards are shuffled and placed in a pile in the middle of the table. Each player in turn (moving counterclockwise around the table) picks up two cards, and places one face up in front of them, and one face down. This continues until all cards are drawn. The face up cards are typically arranged in suits, and by rank, these are referred to as 'table' cards.

Next the face down cards are picked up (and ordered or not as the player decides). These cards will be referred to as the players 'hand', although the elves call them 'secret' cards. The last person to draw is the first person to play, and becomes the leader for the first capture (or trick).

The rest of the game plays as follows:

The leader chooses to play a card into the middle of the table, from his hand, or from his table cards. The remaining two players, in order (counterclockwise), must choose a card from their hands, if the leader played from his hand, or from their table cards if the leader played from his table cards. They must play the same suit as the leader played if they have that suit, or if a god card is lead they must also play a god card if they have one. The highest card of the lead suit captures the other two cards, unless a god card has been played, in which case the top-ranking god card makes the capture, or, if no god card is played, but if the queen and the fool of the lead suit are in play, the fool makes the capture, not the queen. Likewise, the Changeling can capture the Lady. Both captured and capturing cards are owned by the capturing player, but are removed from play, and collected for later scoring.

The player who makes the capture becomes the new leader, and can choose to play from either his hand or his table cards. This is repeated until all the hand and table cards have been played.


Each card captured is worth one point. (This works out to two points per three card trick for a total of 36 points between the players.)
The person who take the most captives scores an extra three points, nine if he takes more captives than both his opponents added together.
Every player scores one point for each magician/scholar that they own.

Elves usually play Viashi in 'rounds' which in typical card playing parlance would be nine hands worth of the above rules, with each player drawing first three times, and a running score kept. Viashi tournaments are also frequently handicapped by requiring that winning players use a random distribution between hand and table for the first one to three draws in following hands (one if they won the last hand, two if they won the last two hands, and three if they won the last three or more hands).

Viashi Variants


The humans tend to play a slightly simplified version of Viashi, where the turn play travels clockwise, the king is high, rather than the queen (and is taken by the fool instead), the scoring is by trick rather than by capture, a simple bonus of two for most tricks is used (for a total 20 points), the magician/scholar bonuses are not used, and either each hand is scored as a separate game, or for more serious gamers, the play is in 'sets' of three hands each. Humans tend also not to protest when players look at their hand cards during the draw phase, which is a practice much despised among elves, and certainly not allowed in tournament play. Other rule variations have been associated with Vashy from time to time in various parts of Racciman's World, but those mentioned above are the most common ones. Feel free to make up your own variations.

Viashilym (Double-Viashi)

This variant has never play tested, as I've never had six players interested in trying it, nor have I yet printed up two decks.

When playing Viashi with six players and two decks, the players form three teams, each player being seated directly opposite his or her teammate.

When deciding which card to place on the table, and which to keep secret, a player may never play to the table any card that is already on the table, unless both of his drawn cards are already on the table, in which case he must prove this by revealing both, and then may place them as desired. When two identical cards are played as part of the same trick they cancel themselves out and become dead cards that cannot take captives themselves, although they can still be taken. If one of the dead cards was lead, and no other cards of that suit besides it's twin were played, nor any god cards, then no other card can make the capture either. All cards from that trick are removed from play, and not scored for that game.

Scoring is by team, five points per 'trick', plus five for the most captives and ten for taking more than both opposing teams combined. Each team also scores one point for every set of twins (two copies of the same card) they own.

Quote from Talking With Winds
'I like to vary my character faults in an attempt to make up for the fact that I have no virtues.'
-- Prince Asond
Copyright © Michelle Bottorff

Email mbottorff at lshelby period com